Depression Raises Risk of IBD, but Antidepressants May Have Protective Effect, Study Finds

Depression Raises Risk of IBD, but Antidepressants May Have Protective Effect, Study Finds
People diagnosed with depression have a higher risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but taking antidepressants may protect against the development of these inflammatory bowel diseases, a British study reports. The study, “Depression increases the risk of inflammatory bowel disease, which may be mitigated by the use of antidepressants in the treatment of depression,” was published in the journal Gut. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses a group of chronic inflammatory conditions of the gut, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Inflammatory molecules of the immune system can also trigger depression, a mood disorder that is prevalent in patients with IBD. However, data on depression diagnosis, subsequent IBD development, and the effect of antidepressants is not conclusive. Researchers re-analyzed data from patients with new-onset depression reported between 1986 and 2012 to evaluate the effect of the disorder and antidepressant therapy on the development of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. A total of 403,665 patients (65% women) with incident depression were identified using The Health Improvement Network, which is a U.K.-based medical records database that provides anonymous primary care data for more than 12 million U.K. residents. A control group of 5,323,986 individuals (50% women), without a history of depression, was also included in the study. The median age of patients with depression was 37 years, and control group participants were a median of 36 years old. The mean follow-up period was 6.7 years. Medical records indicated that a significantly higher proportion of patients with depression (0.05%, or 203 patients) developed Crohn’s disease, compared with those in the control group (0.03% or
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